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Mayan unique fast-moving archer.
Age of Empires II description

The Plumed Archer is the unique unit of the Mayans in Age of Empires II: The Conquerors. It is a fast, well armored foot archer. Its comparatively high base cost is reduced by the Mayans' civilization bonus, making it one of the most cost-effective archers.

Plumed Archers can be upgraded to Elite Plumed Archers in the Imperial Age.


Compared to most archers, Plumed Archers have a lower range in the Castle Age and lower attack in the Imperial Age, but have much higher Hit points and a higher movement speed, enough to even keep up with some cavalry. This allows them to perform hit-and-run tactics and effectively replace the Cavalry Archer for the Mayan civilization. Plumed Archers have an attack bonus against infantry, making them effective against most infantry units in the game. Additionally, their high speed and hit points also make them much better at handling enemy cavalry and siege than the standard Archer line, though their lower attack compared to the Arbalester makes them less effective against Paladins.

They could be paired with the Eagle Warriors in some situations, as the two units share similar speed. Like with other foot archers, they are vulnerable to siege weapons, especially Onagers, although to a lesser extent since their 65 HP allows them to take two Onager shots (Siege Onagers still kill them with one payload however), and their speed makes dodging enemy siege attacks significantly easier. Rattan Archers can defeat Plumed Archers with ease, even though the Plumed Archers have decent pierce armor themselves. Elite Skirmishers and Genitours are also cost-effective against Plumed Archers, and are ideal units to spam against them.

Comparison in the Castle Age[]

PlumedArcherIcon-DE Plumed Archer Crossbowman aoe2DE Crossbowman
Cost 44 wood, 44 gold 20 wood, 36 gold
Hit Points 50 35
Movement Speed 1.2 0.96
Armor 0/1 0/0
Pierce Attack 5 5
Attack bonus +1 vs Infantry
+2 vs Spearmen
+3 vs Spearmen
Attack speed 1.9 2
Range 4 5
Accuracy 80% 85%
Line of Sight 6 7
Upgrade cost
and Time
700 food, 1,000 wood
45 seconds
450 food, 400 gold
50 seconds

Comparison in the Imperial Age[]

PlumedArcherIcon-DE Elite Plumed Archer Arbalester aoe2DE Arbalester
Cost 39 wood, 39 gold 18 wood, 32 gold
Hit Points 65 40
Movement Speed 1.2 0.96
Armor 0/2 0/0
Pierce Attack 5 6
Attack bonus +2 vs Infantry
+2 vs Spearmen
+3 vs Spearmen
Attack speed 1.9 2
Range 5 5
Accuracy 90% 90%
Line of Sight 6 7

Further statistics[]

As Plumed Archers are unique to the Mayans, only technologies that are available to them are shown in the following table:

Unit strengths and weaknesses
Strong vs. Infantry, archers, Villagers, Hand Cannoneers, Camel Riders, Mamelukes
Weak vs. Elite Skirmishers, siege weapons, Huskarls, Rattan Archers, Genitours, War Wagons
Attack FletchingDE Fletching (+1)
BodkinArrowDE Bodkin Arrow (+1)
BracerDE Bracer (+1)
ChemistryDE Chemistry (+1)
Range FletchingDE Fletching (+1)
BodkinArrowDE Bodkin Arrow (+1)
BracerDE Bracer (+1)
Firing rate ThumbRingDE Thumb Ring (+18%)
Accuracy ThumbRingDE Thumb Ring (increases accuracy to 100%)
BallisticsDE Ballistics (hit moving targets)
Armor PaddedArcherArmorDE Padded Archer Armor (+1/+1)
LeatherArcherArmorDE Leather Archer Armor (+1/+1)
RingArcherArmorDE Ring Archer Armor (+1/+2)
Conversion defense Devotion icon AoE2DE Devotion (+1 min, +1 max)
FaithDE Faith (+4 min, +4 max)
HeresyDE Heresy (die upon getting converted)
Creation speed ConscriptionDE Conscription (+33%)
UniqueTechCastle-DE Kasbah (+25%, with a Berber ally only)
Upgrades EliteUniqueUnitDE Elite Plumed Archer

Civilization bonuses[]

  • Mayans AoE2 Mayans: Plumed Archers are 20%/30% cheaper in the Castle/Imperial Age.

Team bonuses[]


AoE2-DLCicon-1 The Conquerors[]

  • Plumed Archers cost 46 wood, 46 gold.
  • The upgrade to Elite Plumed Archers costs 500 food, 1,000 wood.

AoE2-DLCicon-2 The Forgotten[]

  • Plumed Archers cost 50 wood, 50 gold.
  • The upgrade to Elite Plumed Archers costs 700 food, 1,000 wood.

AoEIIDE icon Definitive Edition[]


There is one hero in the game with the appearance of a Plumed Archer:


  • With just 5, the Plumed Archer is the Castle unique unit with the third lowest base attack, behind the Chakram Thrower with 3 and the Kipchak with 4.
  • The Plumed Archer was the first Castle unique unit whose Elite upgrade costs no gold. Since the release of the Definitive Edition, this status now is also held by the Kipchak and Ratha.
  • The Mayan unique unit may be appropriately named Holkan (literally "head [of the] serpent" > "warrior"). The Holkans served under the chief Mayan military captain and were only paid while on military campaigns by him or a Mayan town (Christensen 2014:34).
  • The Plumed Archer line is the fastest foot archer in the game.
  • The Elite Plumed Archer has the highest HP among foot archers, and the non-elite Plumed Archer has the second highest, tied with the Elite Genoese Crossbowman and the Elite Chu Ko Nu.
  • The Plumed Archer is the fastest attacking archer unit in the game based on raw stats. It becomes the fourth fastest attacking archer unit considering civilization bonuses (the Mongol Cavalry Archer line, the Mangudai line, and the Ethiopian Archer line precede them).
  • The Plumed Archer, the Genoese Crossbowman, and the Chu Ko Nu do not have a visible attack increase after their Elite upgrades (though the attack bonuses of the first two units increase when upgraded).
  • The Plumed Archer is the most expensive foot archer (in gold, wood, and combined value) in the game on base cost.
  • On release, Plumed Archers were one of the best archer units due to their low cost. While Crossbowmen were cheaper for the Mayans and had more range, the Plumed Archer's faster movement and higher hit points more than compensated. This, combined with the Mayans' great economy and wall discount, made the Mayans' default strategy a Fast Castle into Plumed Archers, and was part of their dominating reputation. After the Definitive Edition, Plumed Archers were considered expensive enough that the standard Mayan Archer line is a better opening.
  • Plumed Archers are commonly nicknamed the Native American Cavalry Archer due to its fast speed and hit points. However, they attack faster than most mounted archers but have lower attack vs cavalry. The attack bonus vs infantry makes them equal to the Cavalry Archer line against infantry, and the extra pierce armor makes them equal to the Cavalry Archer line against archers.


The natives of Central America had developed the bow and used it in combat. Their bow technology was not far advanced, however, in comparison to the Asian composite bow or English longbow. Archers could be ordered to wound when capture of enemies was more important than killing. Like all other Mayan warriors, archers wore distinctive costumes so commanders could distinguish their troops and place the right group where needed. The status of archers was low in comparison to other warrior ranks, so men of lower standing and skill entered their ranks. Men of status and ambition joined the ranks of the Eagle Warrior where they could have the opportunity to take captives.

The better skilled and experienced bowmen became Elite Plumed Archers. They were especially important when absolute victory was required because they had the ability to kill enemies quickly and break enemy army morale under a barrage of well-aimed arrows.



Units in Age of Empires II
CivilianMaleVillDE Villager · Tradecart aoe2DE Trade Cart · FishingShipDE Fishing Ship · Trade cog aoe2DE Trade Cog · King eu aoe2DE King
ReligiousMonk aoe2DE Monk
InfantryMilitiaDE Militia · Manatarms aoe2DE Man-at-Arms · Longswordsman aoe2DE Long Swordsman · Twohanded aoe2DE Two-Handed Swordsman · Champion aoe2DE Champion
Spearman aoe2DE Spearman · Aoe2-infantry-2-pikeman Pikeman · Halberdier aoe2DE Halberdier
Eaglescout aoe2DE Eagle Scout · Eaglewarrior aoe2DE Eagle Warrior · EliteEaglewarrior aoe2DE Elite Eagle Warrior
ArcherArcher aoe2DE Archer · Crossbowman aoe2DE Crossbowman · Arbalester aoe2DE Arbalester
Skirmisher aoe2DE Skirmisher · Elite skirmisher aoe2DE Elite Skirmisher
Hand cannoneer aoe2DE Hand Cannoneer
Cavalryarcher aoe2DE Cavalry Archer · Heavycavalryarcher aoe2de Heavy Cavalry Archer
Aoe2de DOI elephant archer icon Elephant Archer · ElephantArcherIcon-DE Elite Elephant Archer
CavalryScoutcavalry aoe2DE Scout Cavalry · Lightcavalry aoe2DE Light Cavalry · Hussar aoe2DE Hussar
Knight aoe2DE Knight · Cavalier aoe2DE Cavalier · Paladin aoe2DE Paladin
Camelrider aoe2DE Camel Rider · Aoe2 heavycamelriderDE Heavy Camel Rider
Battle elephant aoe2DE Battle Elephant · Elite battle elephant aoe2DE Elite Battle Elephant
Steppelancericon Steppe Lancer · Elitesteppelancericon Elite Steppe Lancer
Xolotlicon Xolotl Warrior
AoE2DE Armored Elephant icon Armored Elephant · AoE2DE Siege Elephant icon Siege Elephant
SiegeBattering ram aoe2DE Battering Ram · Capped ram aoe2DE Capped Ram · Siege ram aoe2DE Siege Ram
Mangonel aoe2DE Mangonel · Onager aoe2DE Onager · Siege onager aoe2DE Siege Onager
Scorpion aoe2DE Scorpion · Heavyscorpion aoe2DE Heavy Scorpion
Bombard cannon aoe2DE Bombard Cannon
Trebuchet aoe2DE Trebuchet
Petard aoe2DE Petard
Siegetower aoe2DE Siege Tower
War shipTransportship aoe2DE Transport Ship
Galley aoe2DE Galley · War galley aoe2DE War Galley · Galleon aoe2DE Galleon
Fire galley aoe2DE Fire Galley · Fireship aoe2DE Fire Ship · Fastfireship aoe2DE Fast Fire Ship
Demoraft aoe2DE Demolition Raft · Demoship aoe2DE Demolition Ship · Heavydemoship aoe2de Heavy Demolition Ship
Cannon galleon aoe2DE Cannon Galleon · Elite cannon galleon aoe2de Elite Cannon Galleon
AoE2 Dromon Dromon
ReligiousMissionaryIcon-DE Missionary · AoE2 WarriorPriest Warrior Priest
InfantryBerserkIcon-DE Berserk · Aoe2de Chakram Chakram Thrower · CondottieroIcon-DE Condottiero · Aoe2-icon-flemish-militia Flemish Militia · GbetoIcon-DE Gbeto · Aoe2de Ghulam Ghulam · HuskarlIcon-DE Huskarl · JaguarWarriorIcon-DE Jaguar Warrior · KamayukIcon-DE Kamayuk · Karambitwarrioricon-DE Karambit Warrior · AoE2 DE Legionary new icon Legionary · Aoe2-icon--obuch Obuch · SamuraiIcon-DE Samurai · Aoe2-icon-serjeant Serjeant · Shotelwarrioricon-DE Shotel Warrior · TeutonicKnightIcon-DE Teutonic Knight · ThrowingAxemanIcon-DE Throwing Axeman · Aoe2de Urumi Urumi Swordsman · AoE2 WarriorPriest Warrior Priest · WoadRaiderIcon-DE Woad Raider
ArcherArambaiicon-DE Arambai · CamelArcherIcon-DE Camel Archer · ChukoNuIcon-DE Chu Ko Nu · AoE2 CompositeBowman Composite Bowman · ConquistadorIcon-DE Conquistador · GenitourIcon-DE Genitour · GenoeseCrossbowmanIcon-DE Genoese Crossbowman · Imperialskirmishericon-DE Imperial Skirmisher · JanissaryIcon-DE Janissary · Kipchakicon Kipchak · LongbowmanIcon-DE Longbowman · MangudaiIcon-DE Mangudai · PlumedArcherIcon-DE Plumed Archer · Aoe2de ratha ranged Ranged Ratha · Rattanarchericon-DE Rattan Archer · SlingerIcon-DE Slinger · WarWagonIcon-DE War Wagon
CavalryBallistaelephanticon-DE Ballista Elephant · BoyarIcon-DE Boyar · Aoe2de camel scout Camel Scout · CataphractIcon-DE Cataphract · Aoe2de roman unique centurion icon Centurion · Aoe2-icon-coustillier Coustillier · Flaming camel icon Flaming Camel · ImperialCamelRiderIcon-DE Imperial Camel Rider · Keshikicon Keshik · Konnikicon Konnik · Leitisicon Leitis · MagyarHuszarIcon-DE Magyar Huszar · MamelukeIcon-DE Mameluke · AoE2 Monaspa Monaspa · Aoe2de ratha melee Melee Ratha · AoE2 Savar Savar · Aoe2de shrivamsha rider Shrivamsha Rider · TarkanIcon-DE Tarkan · WarElephantIcon-DE War Elephant · Aoe2-icon-winged-hussar Winged Hussar
SiegeAoe2-icon--houfnice Houfnice · Aoe2-icon-hussite-wagon Hussite Wagon · OrganGunIcon-DE Organ Gun
War shipCaravelIcon-DE Caravel · LongboatIcon-DE Longboat · Aoe2de Thirisadai Thirisadai · TurtleShipIcon-DE Turtle Ship